October 11th in History

Apollo 7 patch

October 11 is the 284th day of the year (285th in leap years). There are 81 days remaining until the end of the year. (Image: Apollo 7 mission patch.)

Today in History

  • Reformation theologian Huldrych Zwingli is killed in a religious war with Roman Catholic Swiss (1531)
  • This day does not exist in Italy, Poland, Portugal, or Spain because of the introduction of the Gregorian calendar (1582)
  • Surveying of the Mason-Dixon line between Pennsylvania and Maryland is completed (1767)
  • Theodore Roosevelt becomes the first US president to fly in an airplane (1910)
  • The US Navy defeats Japan in the Battle of Cape Esperance (1942)
  • NASA launches Pioneer 1 (1958)
  • Pope John XXIII convenes the Second Vatican Council (1962)
  • Apollo 7* is launched (1968)
  • A race riot breaks out on the US aircraft carrier Kitty Hawk (1972)
  • Saturday Night Live premiers on NBC (1975)
  • George Washington is posthumously awarded the rank of “General of the Armies” (six stars), previously held only by General John J. Pershing (1976)
  • Ronald Reagan and Михаи́л Горбачёв (Mikhail Gorbachev) meet in Reykjavík, Iceland (1986)
  • NASA launches the 100th Space Shuttle mission (2000)
  • Polaroid Corporation files for bankruptcy (2001)

*For the story of how I came to own an Apollo 7 spacesuit, see my blog post Have Spacesuit, Will Travel.


  • Григо́рий Потёмкин (Grigory Potemkin), Russian leader (1739 O.S.**)
  • Henry Heinz, catsup maker (1844)
  • Harlan F. Stone, US Chief Justice (1872)
  • Eleanor Roosevelt, First Lady (1884)
  • Joe Simon, comic book writer (1913)
  • Jerome Robbins, choreographer (1918)
  • Art Blakely, drummer and bandleader (1919)
  • Jean Vander Pyl, voice of Wilma Flintstone (1919)
  • G. C. Edmondson, science fiction writer (1922)
  • Elmore Leonard, writer (1925)
  • Roscoe Robinson, Jr., first African-American four-star general (1928)
  • Dottie West, country singer (1932)
  • Daryl Hall, singer-songwriter (1946)
  • Patty Murray, US Senator (1950)
  • David Morse, actor (1953)
  • Joan Cusack, actress (1962)
  • Luke Perry, actor (1965)
  • Jane Krakowski, actress (1968)
  • Michelle Trachtenberg, actress (1985)

**O.S. = Old Style. The Soviet Union did not move from the Julian to the Gregorian calendar until 1918.


  • Hans Herr, first Mennonite bishop in America (1725***)
  • Casimir Pulaski, Polish general in the American Revolutionary War (1779)
  • Meriwether Lewis, explorer (1809)
  • James Prescott Joule, physicist and brewer (1889)
  • Chico Marx, comedian (1961)
  • Jean Cocteau, playwright (1963)
  • Édith Piaf, singer (1963)
  • Chesty Puller, most decorated Marine (1971)
  • MacKinlay Kantor, author (1977)
  • Redd Foxx, comedian (1991)
  • Eleanor Cameron, children’s author (1996****)
  • Werner von Trapp, singer (2007)

***Hans Herr is my 7th generation great-grandfather. His house, the oldest surviving structure in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, is open to the public.

****My magazine Random Jottings takes its name from Mr. Bass’s diary in Eleanor Cameron’s Mushroom Planet novels.


  • Blackberry Baking Day (United Kingdom)
  • Bookkeepers’ Day (informal)
  • Feast of Saint Æthelburh of Barking (Christianity)
  • General Pulaski Memorial Day (United States)
  • International Day of the Girl Child (International)
  • It’s My Party Day (informal)
  • Marital Bliss Day (in honor of St. Gomer the Confessor, patron saint of the miserably married)
  • Mato Grosso do Sul Day (Mato Grosso, Brazil)
  • Meditrinalia (Ancient Rome)
  • National Coming Out Day (various countries)
  • National Sausage Pizza Day (US)
  • Old Michelmas Day (Celtic)
  • Revolution Day (Macedonia)